Jagdeo questions ToRs used to hire Dept of Energy staff

first_imgWith the recent announcement made by President David Granger of the establishment of an energy ministry by 2020, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has now questioned whether the Government has a Terms of Reference (ToR) in place for the hiring of person in this field.He noted that the newly appointed Head of the Department of Energy, Dr Mark Bynoe now has the responsibility of selecting candidates from the Department. But the Opposition Leader noted that nothing has been said about what the Department will actually do.“What are its Terms of Reference (ToRs)? You have to get ToRs before you even recruit people. How do you even recruit people, when you don’t know what they are coming to do? The ToRs of the Department must guide the skill type you recruit,” he added.Nevertheless, Jagdeo noted that Government is moving ahead with recruitingOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeopeople. “In the meantime, look at the newspapers, look at the incompetence and hundreds of millions of dollars… urgency in auditing the pre-contract cost. That money could pay all the teachers.”In August, Government appointed Matthew Wilks, a senior oil and gas business developer and negotiator to serve as the Oil and Gas Adviser in the Department of Energy.Wilks, who has 32 years of experience in the global oil and gas industry, will offer critical advice to Dr Bynoe who is an environment and resource economist.During the President’s third press conference, he noted his Administration’s intention to establish a ministry that would be responsible for the oil and gas sector but on Wednesday told reporters on the sidelines of an event that the ministry would be established before 2020.He stated that the present configuration of Cabinet is determined by the Cummingsburg Accord, a sweetheart agreement that brought the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) together as a coalition to contest the May 2015 Elections.Based on the present configuration, Granger said it is not likely that after three years in Government, a new ministry would be created. “I think at this stage after three years we wouldn’t want to add a new ministry, particularly as the Department of Energy is now being established in terms of its organisation, administration, legislation,” he explained.Cabinet in March officially approved the creation of an Energy Department that would oversee Guyana’s oil and gas sector. Ministerial responsibility for the sector was stripped from Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and given to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.Government said the reason for this change was mainly to bring some organisational structure to the sector that will look at legislation to be introduced, negotiation with potential investors, exploration and production licences, public communication, and the engagement of experts, among others.They also assured that energy-related responsibilities lying with Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson would remain untouched for now, especially responsibility for the Guyana Power and Light.Trotman, and indeed the Government, has received much criticism for the way the budding oil sector is being handled. There have, in the past, even been calls to have Trotman removed from his position.The main reason for this was because of the discovery that Government had stashed in a private account in the Central Bank; US$18 million it had received from ExxonMobil as a signing bonus.Though this discovery was made since last year, the Government has made no attempt to have the money placed into the Consolidated Fund. Many have argued that Article 216 of the Guyana Constitution dictates that all public revenue be placed in the Consolidated Fund.Trotman was also criticised for his handling of the oil contracts between Government and ExxonMobil. Even the Government’s own adviser on petroleum, Dr Jan Mangal, has been sceptical of Guyana’s two per cent royalty on earnings from oil sales, which he said is low compared to global standards.While Dr Mangal has not objected to the 50 per cent profit share Guyana will receive, he does believe that the generous tax concessions and two per cent royalty is nothing to boast about.last_img

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